The New York City Council proposes to ban realistic-looking toy guns. (Since 1998, NYPD officers have shot twelve people holding what turned out to be toy guns; there’s no count of how many people with toy guns got shot by non-cops.) The Manhattan Libertarian Party decides to protest by handing out toy guns in East Harlem, a Latino neighborhood. A number of East Harlemites aren’t happy. (If the law passes, the children could be arrested for possessing the toys the Libertarians were handing out.) Some of the kids to whom the guns are given smash them. One local politician suggests that the Libertarians — of whom apparently none are from East Harlem — hand out toy guns in their own neighborhoods.
This strikes the usually acute Dr. Manhattan as an instance of racism. So far, he and I agree.
But he thinks the label applies to the behavior of the community leadership, rather than the folks who came into a neighborhood inhabited by people who don’t look like them to hand out what the locals, who probably know the local conditions better than outsiders do, think are dangerous toys.
Shouldn’t the decision about whether the children of East Harlem have about-to-be-banned toy guns be made by the parents of those children, rather than by the Libertarian Party?